Last week I asked a question that touched a nerve with a lot of my readers. Many of you sent emails and left comments lamenting the way society erodes your daughters' self-confidence and remembering the painful erosion process as you experienced it.
The first one is easy. And it's the mirror image opposite of something many of you mentioned. In fact, it even involves mirrors.
From the time my daughter was tiny I made a point to say nothing but wonderful things about the way I look. It might sound egotistical or amusing to the casual listener who overhears me in a dressing room saying things like, "Wow, I look amazing in this swimsuit. Don't you think Mommy looks great?"
But here's the thing.
I don't care what the casual listener thinks of me. It's much more important to me that my daughter hears me accept and rejoice in what I see in the mirror.
In much the same way I make sure my kids see me reading, because I want them to know reading makes me happy, I make sure to verbalize, often and loudly, that I am content with what I see in the mirror.
The second thing is a girl's program I recently discovered. Even though this particular program is based in Oregon, my guess is, something similar exists in many communities.
Girls on the Run dishes up a mix of girl self-esteem building with good old fashioned running. It's an after-school activity that combines circle time with sessions of training that culminate in a 5K run. In the circle time the girls are led in discussions of various topics that include, but are not limited to, positive body image, personal goals, implementation of positive attitudes and healthy outlooks about eating.
The final tool is something else many of you mentioned in your comments on Friday's post.
Open and honest communication.
I make a point to have regular one-on-one time with my daughter. Sometimes we talk about things she deems "gross". Sometimes we're just silly. In the end, I don't think it matters what we talk about as long as she knows whatever it is, I'll be here to listen and help her find her way.